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Neues Testament


Caragounis, Chrys C.


The son of man 1987


Lindars, Barnabas

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Theologische Literaturzeitung 112. Jahrgang 1987 Nr. 8


Hannover. Joyce: Gelebter Glaube. Die Feste des jüdischen Jahres.
Mit Bildern von H. R. Berlinicke und einem Vorwort von S. Ben-
Chorin. Aus dem Amerik. von C. E. Voll. Gütersloh: Gütersloher
Verlagshaus Gerd Mohn 1986. 125 S. m. zahlr. Abb. 8- = GTB
Sachbuch, 788. DM 12,80.

Das Büchlein informiert lebendig und engagiert über den jüdischen
Festkalender. Schalom Ben-Chorin beginnt sein Vorwort mit dem
Satz von Samson Raphael Hirsch: „Der Kalender ist ein Katechismus
des Juden". In diesem Sinne hat J. Hannover in der Tat-die jüdischen
Feste dargestellt, ursprünglich mit der Absicht, sie der jüdischen
Jugend nahezubringen. Wissenschaftliche Ansprüche erhebt die Darstellung
nicht; sie schildert die Festlegende, die Art und die Gegenstände
der jeweiligen Feiern, getragen von einem lebendigen jüdischen
Glauben. Besonderes Gewicht liegt auf der Darstellung des Schabbat,
der „die Juden mehr bewahrte als sie den Schabbat" (S. 9).

Zugleich mit einem Eindruck von den jüdischen Festen bekommt
der Leser einen Einblick in gegenwärtiges jüdisches Glaubensleben.
Das wird durch Bilder charakteristischer Festsymbole von H. R. Berlinicke
sowie einige Fotos von Feiernden gefordert.


Neues Testament

Caragounis, Chrys C: The Son of Man. Vision and Interpretation.
Tübingen: Mohr 1986. IX. 310 S. gr. 8- = WUNT, 38. Lw. DM
I 18,-.

The Son of Man problem continues to be hotly debated, and each
new book is eagerly scrutinised, to see whether it has a positive contri-
bution to make, which may lead at last to a convincing Solution. In
this work Caragounis argues for thc traditional position that the Son of
Man (SM) was an acceptcd title in NT times, denoting the cclestial
Messiah, or agent of God's kingdom, and that Jesus identificd himsclf
with this figure in applying the title to himself. He thus has to argue
against the critical orthodoxy of the Bultmann school, which accepts
SM as the title of the celestial Messiah, but denies that Jesus applied it
to himself. He also has to argue against the rccent protest against this
vicw, associated with Leivestad, Vermes, Casey and myself, which
denies the apocalyptic SM and traces thc use of the phrase in the
sayings of Jesus to an Aramaic idiom, in which it funetions as a self-
reference. Thus the book comes perilously close to being an elaborate
restatement of the traditional position, which is under threat from new

There is, however, an elcment of originality in his handling of the
SM of the vision of Dan 7 and its relation to the sayings of Jesus.
Unfortunately this is bound up whith errors of scholarship which
vitiate the whole argument of the book.

(a) In dealing with bar enai in Dan 7.13 (only found here in the
biblical Aramaic), C. deduecs the meaning of the phrase from the use
of ben adam in the Hebrcw Bible. This is in any case a dubious proce-
dure. for the two languages are not identical, but the darkens counsel
still further by transferring to the phrase itself semantic overtones
which belong to thc contexts in which it happens to bc used. As the
contexts frequcntly stress thc weakness of man over against God, he
Iserts that the expression refers to "man as a weak, hclplcss, transient
creature" (p. 57). or even "man in his alienation from God" (ibid.). It
must bc objected that it is a false conclusion based on falsc rcasoning.
Thc expression basically mcans a member of the human species, and
does not includc thc notions of weakness and alienation unless thesc
are present in the context.

(b) The preposition k* in thc phrase of Dan 7.13 is then made thc
hasis of a distinetion between the Status of the SM and thc people
whom he symbolises, which applies also to thc beasts in the samc
vision. C. Claims that in each case spiritual beings are intended. who
constitutc a heavenly reality over against their carthly counterparts.
Thus the SM is not to be identificd with the people of thc saints of thc

Most High themselves. This may be so, but it is not a necessary conse-
quence of the use of the preposition, as Vermes has shown.

(c) The most serious error Starts with C.'s Observation on the LXX
reading in Dan 7.13, which instead of reading with MT "to the
Ancient of Days" (= Theödotion) makes the SM "like the Ancient of
Days". Though he rightly rejects the claim that this is the true reading,
he nevertheless seizes it as the foundation of his theory: "Very early,
perhaps in the misty days when the first copies of Dan were made, it
was recognized that the author intended the 'SM' to be understood in
close conjunetion with the AgedOne" (p. 63). Then on 7.27 he adopts
the reading of Theödotion against MT and LXX, which appears to
make a distinetion between the dominion given to the saints and the
Service which the nations will render to the Most High (Elyonin). The
significance of this appears when C. Claims that the unusual title
Elyonin is not to be identificd with the Ancient of Days, but with the
SM himself, who thus is a second divine figure alongside God, even
though in verse 7 he was designated SM to denote his funetion as the
celestial leaderof the saints in their humiliation and suffering.

(d) Armed with this interpretation of the SM, and fortified by disco-
vering it (wrongly in my view) also in the Parables of Enoch and in
4Ezra 11-13, C. applies it to the SM sayings in the NT. However, he
uses only selected items for his exposition. For the present sayings,
which are the most difficult to defend on his presuppositions, he cites
only Mt 8.20 and Mk 2.10. In the first case "the birds of the air" is
connected with Nebuchadnezzar's dream tree (Dan 4.12), and in the
second the exousia of the SM can easily be linked to Dan 7. Thus he
regards Jesus as having a Danielic basis to his teaching, which is
fundamental to his whole niessage of the kingdom of God. Jesus thus
saw himself as the second divinity, the Elyonin, beside God. and
expected his hearers to understand that this was his meaning. Thus the
dement of humiliation was currently forgotten, until Jesus renewed it
in the passion predictions. It is suggested that Jesus was aided by
drawing on the Suffering Servant prophecy of Isaiah 53 (p. 229). The
tortuous nature of the argument can be seen when it is remembered
that the idea of humiliation had been said earlier tobe inherent in the
SM phrase itself.

(e) C. accepts the authenticity of all the SM sayings, but without
adequate argument. He refutes the form-critical critcria for authenticity
at great lenght, but when dealing with a specific saying he is
content to cite the namc of a scholar who has aeeepted it, and makes
little attempt to examinc it closely from this point of view. Thus he
counters the observations of Sharman and Vielhauer, that SM and
kingdom of God are never combined in the tradition, which would bc
fatal to his reconstruetion, by simply refusing to face the redaction-
critical issues in the relevant passages. With regard to the Aramaic
usage of bar cnasa as an idiomatic self-rcfcrence, which also threatens
his reconstruetion, he shows total misunderstanding of what is clai-
med. On example (a reference to my own work) must suffice: "Lindars
presents one example and that 'ambiguous' p. 23f" (p. 30, repeated
on p. 249). What I actually said is that the last of four relevant
cxamples addueed is the easiest to grasp. revealing the ambiguity
which is an cssential aspeet ofthe idiom itself.

This is a large and magisterial book, but its defence of a conservative
Position is often naive and uncritical, and its attitude to other views is
dismissive, sometimes unfair, and more than onee misrepresenls the
authors. Thc original dement in the book is a highly dubious Interpretation
of Dan 7. The attempt to make this thc key to understanding
thc SM in thc Gospcls is unsuccessful. The debate on thc SM problem
must continue.

Manchester Barnabas Lindars

Hock. Ronald F., and Edward N. O'Neil: Thc Chreia in Ancient
Rhetoric. I: Thc Progymnasmata. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press
1986. XV. 358 S. gr. 8r=SBL. Textsand Translations, 17. Graeco-
Roman Religion Scries, 9. Kart.S 16.75; Lw. $ 25.25.